It seems Barnes and Noble gave everyone a bit of a surprise today. It was expected that the bookseller would be launching a 3G version of its wildly popular NOOK e-reader (or maybe even a 3G NOOKcolor), but instead, B&N went straight for the competition's throat, launching the 6-inch e-ink display sporting, Android-powered (albeit Android 2.1) NOOK Simple Touch Reader. And all for the low, low cost of $140 - a price suspiciously reminiscent of a certain other e-book reader.
Last month, Microsoft took bookseller Barnes & Noble, the company responsible for the Nook and Nook Color, to court over some patents infringed because B&N used the Android operating system in the Nook and Nook Color. This is definitely nothing new in the world of mobile devices. It happens all the time, especially with companies like Apple and Microsoft trying to take complete dominance of every arena they enter. That's not the big story here.
The Barnes & Noble NOOK Color has been the e-reader of choice for many Android power users because of its hackability, making it easy to transform it into a full featured tablet. B&N must've taken note from the Android dev community, because an update has just been released for the NOOK Color that brings Froyo, apps, flash player, and more to this budget friendly device.
Before you get too excited, though, it's not exactly what you think.
Microsoft announced today that they are filing legal action against Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec for their collaborative role in manufacturing the Nook Color. Why would Microsoft be suing for anything even remotely related to the Nook Color? As you probably know, the Nook runs a version of Android and Microsoft owns several patents which it claims Android violates. Microsoft says that anyone making an Android device needs to pay them, or else they are going to do as they have done today - and sue them.
We learned a couple of months ago that Bluetooth had been unlocked for Nook Color on a developmental level, but not until today has it been available for users. Developers fattire and verygreen have collaborated on a CM7 SD card bootable ROM that will let you sync your Bluetooth keyboard or headset to the "eReader." As trusted dev dalingrin noted earlier in our comments, the Bluetooth functionality has also been committed to the CyanogenMod 7 nightlies and is now available.
I have a Nook Color and I have had loads of fun modding it. From basic rooting to Froyo, CM7, and Honeycomb, there are several options available now for those wanting to transform it from a tablet-esque eReader into a $250 entry level Android tablet. These operations range from simple to somewhat advanced, so I understand that some people are going to be a little intimidated by the prospect of hacking an expensive device.
As more high-end Android tablets hit the market, the prices can be pretty overwhelming (I'm talking to you, Motorola XOOM). While it doesn't sport cutting-edge specs, the 7" Barnes & Noble Nook Color has been taken on as a pet project by many in the development community (even running a mostly stable port of the Honeycomb SDK preview), and can be turned into a solid $250 tablet. Now, if you act quickly, you can change that to a $200 tablet when you snatch it up from the manufacturer's eBay account.
You've seen it: a new Android tablet is featured on some mainstream media's program or website, and you know it's coming, but you still can't help but clench your sphincter muscles just a little when you hear it...
Will it be an iPad killer?
Samsung's attempt to compete with the iPad...
The latest inferior and insignificant non-Apple offering that we're forced to cover...
Can't they see that this is like describing Colin Firth as a wanna-be Tom Cruise?
If you caught our review of Thumb Keyboard last month, you'll know the gist of this clever keyboard app that aims to make two-thumbed typing a breeze. It's a novel (and potentially very useful) tool for a phone, but with recent updates that have accentuated the tablet layouts, this has now become my keyboard of choice on large tablet screens, and is a potential game-changer in the new slate arena.
On phones, trace keyboards like Swype and SlideIt are extremely hard to beat in the speed department (world texting records seem to be broken on a regular basis with Swype), but on the wider tablet screen, tracing suddenly becomes much less convenient.
Device updates that break root are fairly common - in fact, I'd go so far as to say that the majority of updates do so. What's a bit less common, though, is an update that resets your device because you're rooted. The device in question here is the NOOKcolor, and unfortunately it looks like that's exactly what's happening.
Before I dive into the details, I think it's important to note that I doubt that even as much as manufacturers and carriers dislike when people root their device, it's pretty far over the line for them to remotely wipe the devices of people who have done so.